By Catalin Varela
All the traditions we have come to love about St. Patrick’s Day (green beer, “Kiss Me I’m Irish” T-shirts, etc.) actually have very little resemblance to the holiday first celebrated in 1631. So what’s the real story behind the festivities of March 17?
St. Patrick’s Day was established by the Catholic Church as a way to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, with a feast. The interesting part is there is actually very little known about St. Patrick himself…quite the extravaganza for a guy we don’t know!
The limited information available suggests that he was born in Roman Britain (yep, he is not actually Irish) and was taken to Ireland as a slave. It is also said that St. Patrick was born with the name “Maewyn Succat” and changed his name to Patrick (meaning “father figure” in Latin) when he became a priest. As a priest, he had quite a bit of luck converting people to Christianity, which may be why luck is associated with the holiday.
Legend has it that St. Patrick was responsible for ridding the island of snakes, but that is a myth because there weren’t any snakes to begin with. If you have ever wondered why people wear the color green, that can be traced back to the war in 1798 when the Irish Rebellion wore green while fighting the British in red.
The traditions we associate with St. Patrick’s Day today likely began to show up in the early 18th century when Christians used it as a “day off” during Lent before Easter. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in Boston in 1737.
Check The Castle Pines Connection online events page for festivities in and around the area at www.castlepinesconnection.com.